The football World Cup is a four year event and it’s a culmination of the efforts put in by each and every country taking part in the world cup along with others who could not make it past the qualifications. The World Cup brings a lot of joy to people’s faces and India is no different, every four years our countrymen pick up a country of choice and support them throughout the world cup, but the joy is short-lived as our country has not participated in the World Cup since its inauguration.
There have been many rumors on why the country did not participate in the World Cup 1950 even though it qualified for it, and they include that the AIFF wanted to play the world cup barefoot and the authorities did not allow the match to be played in that form, which is why India bailed out of the World Cup.
The Reason behind not Playing FIFA World Cup 1950?
The reason why India did not play in the World Cup was that they men had to travel to Brazil to play the World cup and AIFF was not ready for it. Even though Brazil was ready to sponsor the teams trip to the World Cup, AIFF still declined it.
As Per Sports Illustrated –
At the time, for India, the Olympics was a bigger deal than the football World Cup, which, in 1950, was the fourth edition of the global competition. So the AIFF did not see it fit to send a team halfway around the world via ship. Brazil even offered to sponsor the travel costs, but the AIFF declined.
The AIFF was also worried about the fitness of the players in the team as the team were able to perform for a 70 minute match and not a 90 minute match as was going to be played in the World Cup.
Further, there were teams such as Turkey, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland which were giving the tournament a miss.
For these reasons, the AIFF declined attending the World Cup as there was no point getting humiliated in front of a global audience.
Sailen Manna, Indian Football captain of 1950’s has been quoted as saying by Sports Illustrated –
“We had no idea about the World Cup then. For us, the Olympics was everything. There was nothing bigger.”